5 Reasons Not to Play Turbo Poker

turbo poker

Turbo Poker

The online poker sites are continuously adapting and offering new games. They are doing a great job in keeping poker appealing and vibrant but some of this is not in the interest of serious players. In this article I’m going to share five reasons why the turbo poker format is not worth your time. This may seem like a contentious statement to make in an era where hyper turbo SNGs are turbo tournaments are the rave but by the end you will see why.

1) Your potential edge is smaller

The turbo formats may seem convenient due to the fact they finish quicker but your edge is smaller. This is due to shorter stacks, quicker increments and the high variance nature that comes with these formats.

Secondly, the grinders who play turbo poker have practically solved the game. So, you are playing against players that have used poker software to ensure they are playing as close to perfect as they can. Therefore, your natural edge has gone against these and it is only against the fishier players. Whilst you still have an edge, the luck element will surely reduce this significantly. After all, you have less opportunities to stack your opponents and are less likely to bluff them in this format.

2) It’s not “real” poker

I don’t intend to upset any players who make their money from turbo games but the truth is, turbo poker isn’t proper poker per se. You’re really playing just a small portion of what poker is, namely push/fold poker. There’s nothing “bad” about this but only learning what hands to play when under 20 big blinds is a tiny part of a complete poker game.

Poker is much more than knowing when to shove your short stack. It’s about the flop, turn and river too. It’s about post-flop decision making and maths, playing the player and executing timely bluffs. These concepts are practically lost on someone who is only playing turbo poker.

3) Very swingy

Most poker players run bad at some point in their journey. They come and go and its part and parcel of poker. However, good players will restrict the swings where possible and seek to take advantage of their skills to maintain a consistent and strong hourly win rate.

Turbo games are notorious for being very swingy which can lead to many buy-ins being lost before you turn a corner. The variance element is amplified in turbo games because you’re playing more showdown poker. This is what happens when you play a variant where nobody is deep stacked.

If you are happy to embrace big swings in luck, then perhaps you’ll enjoy the turbo format. The majority of players who come to Texas Hold’em Questions prefer consistent results.

4) Mentally draining (more chance of tilt)

Further to the argument that turbo poker is swingy, they can be mentally draining. Catch yourself on a bad run and you’ll be exhausted and fed up of them. This is not an environment where you can play your A game. Instead, a bad run in this format is likely to increase your chances of going on tilt. This is disastrous in a format where you can go through buy-ins in a matter of minutes.

Tilt is a challenge many poker players have to deal with. Some deal with it by knowing their games weaknesses and avoiding them. Turbo SNGs might be one that could set you off so be sure to avoid them if you’re someone that suffers with tilt issues.

5)Restrictive to the serious player

Anyone who wants to advance themselves and become a strong player will struggle with the turbo format. As previously stated, it’s push/fold for the majority of it which means you’re a little handcuffed. You’re restricted in the amount of moves you can do. Contrast this to deeper stacked games where you have many options available and you can see why I am anti-turbo poker for serious players.

An experienced poker player wants to exercise freedom in their decisions at the poker table. This is simply not possible in a super-fast format. A serious player will be frustrated that they can’t shift gears or make use of their post-flop skills


Clearly, I am not a huge fan of the turbo poker games online. It’s great that they exist as it captures the interest of recreational players and they are convenient too. However, for anyone who is keen to develop as a complete player, they’re far from ideal. I think there are better games around that can be more rewarding from a financial, intellectual and enjoyment perspective.

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Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: info@texasholdemquestions.com

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